Of the many changes that have taken place in Western society during the past two centuries, few have been more significant than the steep fall in infant and child mortality. However, the timing and causes of the decline are still poorly understood. While some scholars attribute it to general improvements in living standards, others emphasize the role of social intervention and public health reforms. Written by specialists from several disciplinary fields, the twelve essays in this book break entirely new ground by providing a long-term perspective that challenges some deep-rooted ideas about the European experience of mortality decline and may help explain the forces and causal relationships behind the still tragic incidence of preventable infant and child deaths in many parts of the world today. This book will become a standard work for students and researchers in demography, social and economic history, population geography, and the history of medicine, and it will be of interest to anyone concerned with current debates on the policies to be adopted to curb infant and child mortality in both developed and developing countries.